Trevor Manuel, the finance minister, said the 2010 Soccer World Cup will be one of the sources of output growth improvement next year.

Presenting his Budget in Parliament, Manuel said he expects output growth to improve then, supported by public infrastructure spending, lower interest rates and a recovery in the world economy as well as the World Cup.

At a press conference in Parliament the minister said that the World Cup was not just about bringing the world’s best soccer players to this country or about building soccer stadiums, but was also a means of improving the country’s infrastructure, and the Budget Review points out that the World Cup project covers a range of activities from stadium construction to transport, tourism and marketing, health and disaster management, safety and security and telecommunications.

“Stadium construction is progressing rapidly,” the Review says, “with some projects ahead of schedule.”

To provide for increased construction costs and improved project management, a further 463 million rand is allocated to the stadiums construction grant. “By the end of the process the government will have contributed 11.5 billion rand to stadium construction,” the Review said.

Allocations of 505 million rand in 2009/10 and 210 million rand in 2010/11 will support host city preparations for the Confederations Cup this year, and the main event next year.

The public transport infrastructure and systems grant receives an allocation of 11.9 billion rand over the next three years to establish, construct and improve new and existing public transport infrastructure and systems in large municipalities including the 2010 host cities.

The Review notes: “The cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg are moving ahead with plans for bus rapid transit systems intended to facilitate greater use of public transport and alleviate road congestion.”

AUTHOR: Michael Hamlyn
DATED: 11th February 2009